The hotel and organic winery Ästad Vingård in Tvååker, Sweden (a 30 minute drive from Falkenberg) is home to the fine dining restaurant ÄNG. Chef Filip Gemzell and his team have previously won awards from the 360°Eat Guide for their sustainability efforts, and in 2021 ÄNG received their first Michelin star. The tasting menu primarily features ingredients from the neighboring regions and local Swedish farmers. Keep reading to see our full review of the meal.
Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in the Halland region? Check out our guide.
The first time we heard about chef Filip Gemzell was when people started raving about restaurant Huset in Svalbard (which is so far north in Norway it’s practically the North Pole!). We visited Huset shortly after Gemzell’s time there, but we got to try parts of the menu he left behind. (We were quite impressed.) Ever since then, we have really been wanting to visit ÄNG – especially when it was consistently recognized by the 360°Eat Guide the past two years for leading the way in sustainability. Finally, with the lockdowns behind us, we were able to travel to the west coast of Sweden on a road trip, and were lucky enough to dine at ÄNG in the summer of 2021. We didn’t know at the time that the restaurant would receive its first Michelin star just a few weeks later – but we did predict that it was a strong contender.
Chef Gemzell is originally from Stockholm, but his career took him to Svalbard where he met his partner Ann-Catrine Johansson, now ÄNG’s sommelier. The wine pairing is very classic in style and features a couple of wines they have made in collaboration with Ästad Vingård. We wish there had been a few more natural wines, but we really enjoyed their non-alcoholic pairing which consisted of house-made juices.
Our dinner at ÄNG was easily a meal highlight of the year, and exceeded our already high expectations. The tasting menu was delicious, and with a great philosophy. They only use local ingredients from small farms and producers primarily based in Sweden (and also a few in Denmark). The waiters proudly told the stories of each ingredient when presenting the dishes; for example, they spoke fondly of the truffle-hunting dogs from Gotland, where ÄNG gets their Swedish truffles. One of the first bites featured these truffles alongside pickled Swedish chanterelle mushrooms and portobello cream inside a chestnut tartelette. Another standout dish was the fermented white asparagus with lemon verbena and asparagus purée, which was served alongside a white asparagus ice cream topped with lilac juice and Rossini caviar.
ÄNG uses creative substitutes for things they don’t have readily available, such as using solaris grape for acidity instead of lemon. (Don’t forget they are located on a vineyard!) They make a solaris vinegar from the grape juice, which was used in another of our favorite dishes – the Danish yellowtail sashimi. The raw fish was served with green chile, kimchi butter, and a ponzu made with the solaris vinegar. The local grape also played a role in the dessert – the solaris grape tart was another meal highlight, and had citrus notes that reminded us a lot of a lemon tart. A fun Nordic twist on the classic!
The entire experience at Ästad Vingård is extremely good value-for-money – you can stay at the hotel and have a package including the tasting menu at ÄNG for 4600 SEK for two people. (This price excludes wine, but it includes breakfast and access to the amazing spa at the hotel.) In 2022, chef Gemzell plans to move his restaurant to a new location (right next to their current space). We look forward to returning next year and experiencing the new venue!
Have you visited restaurant ÄNG? Let us know in a comment below.